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A History of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières

With Laurence Binet. Moderated by Robin Kirk.
October 29th, 2014
5:00 PM


Read about Laurence Binet’s visit to Duke:

Laurence Binet: Case Studies Help Doctors Without Borders Understand Its History in Faith and Leadership Today

Case Studies from Ethical Challenges in Humanitarian Medicine in Duke Today

For over twenty years, Laurence Binet has been sifting through the MSF archives. Her in-depth research has been compiled into the Speaking Out Case Studies series, which provides primary source evidence of decisions taken by the group during critical moments such as the Ethiopian famine, Rwanda and Zaire during and after the genocide, Somalia in the early 1990s, Chechnya in the early days of Putin, and others.

In a discussion moderated by Robin Kirk, faculty co-chair of the Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute, Binet addresses the importance of the case studies for understanding the historical trajectory of MSF as an organization over time. How does a fast-moving and emergency-oriented NGO like MSF make decisions and record its changing policies, interests and growth? How did MSF’s understanding of its own mission change over time? How did its experience in a particular crisis change the way it approached the next crisis? We’ll explore these questions and more.

Co-sponsored by the Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute.

Laurence Binet

Médecins Sans Frontières

Laurence Binet is the Director of Studies, Fondation MSF for MSF International.

After having studied history at University of Caen (France) and international relations at Paris Institute of Political Sciences (France), she worked as a free-lance journalist for the French media for 20 years, while doing casual assignments for Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). Since 1999, as Director of Studies, she has been in charge of the Speaking Out Case Studies project for MSF. She is also developing other projects with the objective of building a documented history of MSF in various fields such as operational choices, humanitarian diplomacy, evolution of the institution.

Robin Kirk

Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute

Robin Kirk is the Faculty Co-Chair of the Executive Committee of the Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute and is a founding member of the Pauli Murray Project. An author and human rights advocate, Kirk directed the Belfast program for DukeEngage in partnership with Healing Through Remembering, an extensive cross-community project dealing with the legacy of past conflict and human rights. She is a lecturer in the Department of Cultural Anthropology. In 2016-2017, she directed a Bass Connections project with undergraduates called Constructing Memory at Duke, which examined how the university embodies its past. A report on its conclusions and recommendations will be released in 2018. Kirk has also written three books, including More Terrible Than Death: Massacres, Drugs and America’s War in Colombia (PublicAffairs) and The Monkey’s Paw: New Chronicles from Peru (University of Massachusetts Press). She is a coeditor of The Peru Reader: History, Culture, Politics (Duke University) and coedits Duke University Press’s World Readers seriesAn essayist and award-winning poet, she has published widely on issues as diverse as the Andes, torture, the politics of memory, family life, and pop culture.